May 12th, 2013
Fashion News, Plus Sized
Abercrombie & Fitch Back In the News; Author Robin Lewis Says A&F CEO Mike Jeffries “Doesn’t Want Larger People Shopping In His Store”
By Claire

Abercrombie & Fitch is back in news after Robin Lewis, author of The New Rules of Retail (2010), offered the Business Insider her opinion on the brand’s exclusionary sizing. About Abercombie & Fitch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, Lewis said, “He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people. He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.’

She’s referring to a 2006 interview Mike Jeffries gave to Salon magazine, where he said, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

Though Jeffries never explicitly said, “I don’t like fat people,“(as many outlets are reporting) the sizes carried in Abercrombie & Fitch pretty much say it all. Pants don’t go higher than a size 10, and you’d be hard pressed to find an XL or XXL.
This exclusionary sizing isn’t restricted to Abercrombie. Sure Alexander Wang has plenty of stretchy offerings, but his skirts and dresses don’t go bigger than a large or a size 10 (the largest size carried in his New York flagship is typically a size 8). And we all remember when Donatella Versace canceled a Versace x H&M photo shoot with the New York Daily News because the ‘real women’ cast for the shoot “didn’t fit Versace’s branding.”
donatella versace h&m
Size discrimination in the fashion industry is real and rampant. The ‘ideal’ rail thin model is universally believed to look better in clothes than her curvier counterpart. But are these exclusions pocket practical? According to the Business Insider, 67% of the apparel purchasing population is now considered plus sized; the NIH reports that 64% of women in the United States are considered overweight or obese.
plus sized purchasing power
Fast fashion retailers like ASOS and H&M already know the score, and carry plus sized brands and sizes up to a 22. And business is booming.
It would behoove Abercrombie & Fitch to expand just a bit–or risk getting left behind.
What do you think?
Read more in the Business Insider. See Mike Jeffries’s original 2006 interview with Salon here.

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73 Responses to “Abercrombie & Fitch Back In the News; Author Robin Lewis Says A&F CEO Mike Jeffries “Doesn’t Want Larger People Shopping In His Store””

  1. says:

    Let me just say this. People are not born fat. You become it. The way that happens is essentially you consume more than you burn, no one can deny that.

    People saying they are too poor to buy proper foods (vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, dark chocolate, avocados etc.) can’t say they are too poor to work out. Because you do not need a gym membership to burn calories.

    Just stating facts.

  2. Beautiful says:

    @Ve,your comment is totally off-topic.Just stating facts..

  3. Lainea says:

    It is what it is…..

  4. Empress says:

    Lmao. Being fat isn’t cool though. I’m a curvy 12, sometimes 10. I’m trying to go down to an 8. :(

  5. Nicky says:

    I don’t even like Abercrombie clothes but I think as the percentage increases for U.S. women that are overweight and obese, they will eventually get with the program or find another market outside of the U.S. But I would also like to add that high schoolers and people in college (men/boys and women/girls) love his clothes so we shall see what happens……. There are too many sides to this argument.

  6. Jmcansweet says:

    @Ve, shut the hell up and get a clue!

  7. Lex says:

    He not only insulted fat ppl he also insulted kids who are unpopular. These days cool is defined as going to jail, staying in trouble, cussing out teachers, sagging your pants,wearing as little as possible, and listeningto disrespectful music. These are the people he wants representing his line?

  8. PixieLover says:

    Why so hostile toward Ve? Like she said, she’s stating facts. Many women are obese, not being able to fit into “cute” clothes, because the designers don’t make them in your size might help change lifestyles. That’s a pretty vain reason to lose weight, but in this case vanity serves a purpose.

  9. Brandie says:

    LOL was ever abecrombie called ‘fashion’?
    Anyway this is hilarious. Mike, donatella, plz get a life.
    Dont u dare u try to put people here and there, when u clearly cant even put urselves there? I mean…really?
    If u guys want only ‘attractive’ people to wear ur outfits, u r definitely the first person to take that off cuz u guys r lookin
    freakin dinosaur with blonde.
    Ok, whatever. Keep talkin about ur nonsense and all we gonna see is ur sales decrease and ignorance. Thats all.

  10. Brandie says:

    Look what they look like, LOL
    They look like freakin dinosaurs with blonde. And they are talkin about peoples looks? This is nonsense.

  11. KK says:

    Size is the last form of ‘legal’ discrimination. If a designer was to make a comment about exculding consumers from their range because of a particular ethnicity/ sexuality their would be a public outcry. Why is it that it is acceptable to be so overtly discriminative towards size? It really irritates me…Larger ladies have the ability to make clothing look just as good as smaller ladies.

  12. Zeinabou says:

    Let it be the people who’s faces look like chewed up leather to say ish. I don’t mind anyone’s opinions or facts lets just be respectful of people’s feelings… That’s just my opinion… I do agree, not everything fits everyone but hostility is not the answer.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Ve.

    I’m a UK size 8-10 and constantly struggling to lose weight/not gain weight. I believe fat people should constantly eat healthy and exercise and not just accept that they are fat.

    It simply does not look good and clothes do not look as good on fat people as they do on slim/skinny people. FACT. Miranda Kerr wears a jersey tank top, jeans and a pair of heels and looks like she’s dressed to the 9′s, same does not apply to me and I’m not even fat. When it comes to fashion, skinny/slim rules. This is undeniable.

  14. Jihan says:

    I used to work as a stylist at Hollister, and honestly, Mike Jeffries is an old queen who was never cool and now THINKS he knows what is cool. He’s trying to live some old 1950s fantasy, and it’s tiresome.

    If he knew what the “cool kids” wore, he’d be looking for inspiration more from kids in cities, street style blogs, etc. Not to what some kids in Ceaderbug, WI are wearing.

    He’s just a 70-something year-old obsessed with the image of young, nubile blonde men. Why do we care WHO he wants in his stores?

    Do we really think someone who looks like is knows what is cool?

    I ain’t worried about him, and neither should anyone else be. Especially now that A&F is losing a lot of its value. Why? Because they make the same clothes they did 10 years ago, and now with the popularization of the internet and fashion blogs, people’s sartorial proclivities are changing.

  15. Solange says:

    @Jihan *Gives standing ovation!!*
    Looking like that he should have several seats and several diets to accompany him in his misery.

    *SN* Who still wears AF (other than NY tourists)???

  16. Solange says:


  17. Occasional guest says:

    Before, I even googled this fool, I knew it would have been; as @Zeinabou nicely put it, some person with a face “like chewed up leather ” honestly I didn’t think people still buy a&f… talk about vanity at it’s highest degree. smh
    LOL @Jihan for the link :’D **tears**

  18. Gabs says:

    Not surprised by his statements but my question is “Who actually wears A&F in 2013?” I could never get into what they offered mainly b/c my nose wouldn’t allow me to enter the store. #Deathtoallolfactorysystems

  19. Nola Q. Darling says:

    My .02 cents…

    I was a size 16/18 at my largest, which is around the time Mike Jeffries made those comments. I’ve since joined a gym, changed my habits, and now I’m around a 6/8.

    And even though I can fit their clothes now, you would never catch me in that cheap ass store.

    I am the consumer. And regardless of what size I may wear now, my money is and has always be green.

    Money talks, bullsh-t walks. We’ll see how well they are doing in 5-10 years, when the percentage of obese Americans increases…

  20. Nola Q. Darling says:


  21. _GUINEVERE__ says:

    Jihan – YOU MADE MY DAY!

  22. nia says:

    who cares!? their clothes are overpriced and cookie cutter anyways! i dont think that being obese is healthy at all but i also dont beleive people should b discriminated. i think larger women need to take their fashion into their OWN hands because complaining wont cut it

  23. lola says:

    YAAAAS Jihan, you better read for filth.

    @ Ve
    You sound mad ignorant sis. People are not born fat, but people are born in a myriad of socio-economic and political situations that tend to make them larger than the average size.
    Not selling clothes to someone because they are fat or unhealthy is absolute hogwash. What about the size zero clothes? There are a lot of size zero women who are underfed, malnourished and not consuming the necessary “productive” calories suitable for a balanced diet. Are we going to stop selling clothes to them too? For luxury brands, I can understand because their market is limited to society’s elite but a common brand like A&F? Get out of here with that B.S

    Besides, who even shops at A&F? Why would you want to buy clothes that smell like the sweat of Midwestern frat boys? No bueno. They should stop making clothes for everyone and go out of business. BLOOOP!!!

  24. makeeasweet says:

    Its really sad how obesity is growing in america.I think its even more sad that people whine about not having enough plus size options instead of losing the weight.Half of those woman in the picture above are obese.

    @Ve’ you are so right,that why people are attacking you.some people cant take the cant say anything negative about fat people, oops i mean “curvy” people.

  25. Solange says:

    Why did my comment get deleted?? I didn’t say anything disrespectful, I only gave @Jihan a standing ovation for speaking nothing but the truth..oh yeah and only NYC tourists wear AF.

    See that wasn’t so bad..

  26. Lex says:

    He not only insulted the obese, he insulted the “uncool.” Todays definition of “cool” is sagging your pants, wearing as little clothing as possible, going to jail, cussing out teachers and other school officials, and listening to degrading offensive music. These are the people he wants to represent his line?

  27. Gemini says:


    I didn’t know all of that wow nice to have an insider’s pov. That pic of him in that link?? *oh lawd have mercy*

  28. Raya says:

    Not everyone wants to be skinny and not everyone wants to wear A&F. Who are these people to tell us what we are or what we’re not? We shouldn’t let them define us. F’d up society.

  29. Cici says:

    I am thin and so are a lot of my non African American friends and they would never shop at AF, he needs to get a clue bc social media and blogs etc have made it more
    of a possibility to show your own individuality. @ Jihan agree with you 100%

  30. Solange says:

    Oops my comment didn’t get deleted..stupid HTC EVO took forever to update…

  31. Jihan says:

    @Gemini YUP! That’s a picture of him

    TERRIFYING. Girl, i have all the inside tea on the Abercrombie company. I worked at one of the flagship stores in Manhattan (which, hilariously enough, has been converted to a chain store becuase NOBODY WEARS HOLLISTER), and because of the department I was in, I was privy to all sorts of BS.

    Had I been a manager, I would have had more juicy secrets, but my homegirl who signed on as a manager (I never did because I was spending my time paving the way to do bigger and better things… like, I don’t know, writing for FBD!) told me that there was a big scandal in the office because the head of recruitment was mad at the recruiters for not bringing in potential hirees who were “attractive enough.”

    Also, Mike Jeffries was supposed to come and visit the store, and they called all the “less attractive” employees and told them to stay home for the day.

    I can go on and on I’m like a kettle girl…

  32. I had to step in.. says:

    Not everyone who is a size 0 is underfed or too skinny. I think a lot of people who wear it are just short. I’m only 5’2. Vanity sizing has added more sizes on and lower the number of other sizes. For example, I wear 0 to a 2 in pants and dresses depending on the store. But, I am a dressmakers size 6, which many vintage clothes are in and why people get confused when they see a vintage size 8 and wonder why its so small. I know this doesn’t fix the problem mentioned in article, which I don’t think is right, but who wants to wear AF anyway, which they are a huge offender of vanity sizing, when I wanted to wear their clothes when I was in high school I wore a 00 there, which is nuts. We need to go ahead and go back to dressmakers sizing. Oh and another thing, I’m really against the way they hire people there, I won’t go into that because I don’t feel like it, but anyone who has worked there or a store like it (@Jihan) will know what I mean.

  33. I had to step in.. says:

    *Drops mic* lol

  34. Anonymous says:

    I don’t agree with excluding anyone especially from a failing line. I personally think his clothes are boring and haven’t bought anything since the 6th grade. However, I don’t like that being over weight is ok. I think more emphasis should be placed on fixing that rather than old crusty designers

  35. Dom says:

    A&F has been this way for years with carrying only small sizes. Possibly why the brand is failing, but considering he said this in ’06, I don’t think this will have much more of an effect than it already has.

  36. KimberlyLove says:

    Not to be that person, but get over it. Some people don’t want larger people to wear their clothes. Say oh well their lost and go to a brand that does. Everyone doesn’t have to appeal to every single person. Fashion isn’t a one size fits all. It’s one size fits most. If you can’t get with it, make your own brand and change the game, until then shut up and eat a salad.

  37. lola says:

    @ Jihan

    The shade in your comment though, I’m dying. From “Ceaderbug, WI” to the picture you posted, I am literally in stitches.

  38. Frost says:

    Love the conversation in this thread, lots of intellectual opinions.

    Anyway, I have to come to Ve’s defense. Some people were really jumping on her, but she didn’t say anything in a disrespectful manner.

    To the person who blames socioeconomic class on weight gain, that is partly true. Fast food restaurants are easy to find in mostly lower class neighborhoods, but this does not mean you have to eat it. Good food can also be cheap, and I don’t mean you have to eat organic. Weight is also something I’ve noticed that occurs in families. If you’re overweight, don’t raise your kids in the same manner.

    If you’re happy being overweight, then be happy, but just realize not all brands are going to cater to you, and they don’t have too. Brands have certain clienteles that they cater too. Just like Baby Phat is a popular urban brand, or Ed Hardy was geared to the ‘guidos’ etc. I understand the point of wanting to portray a certain image, and, just thinking logically about it, it seems that larger sized clothing would cost more to make since it requires more fabric.

    Anyway, that’s just my opinion on it.

  39. binks says:

    Say what now? I’ am so sick and tired of people telling what fat people need to do, should wear and look like I get wanting to preach a healthier lifestyle but when did preaching becoming discriminating and badgering? Personally, I never got the hype about stores like A&F because they basically sell overpriced basics and is too vanilla to be considering a “true” fashion house. Besides A&F was only catering to certain people so their scope of who they consider appropriate is a VERY, VERY VERY narrow scope based on advertising so…shrugs. But oh well let their pockets ache in the meantime this shouldn’t be skin off of anybody’s nose. Cater to brands/things that caters to YOU!

  40. Dee says:

    I’m a bigger girl, and my issue is not what he said because we’re all entitled to our opinions. Its the fact, that he seems to be applying that bigger people are somehow inferior and not worthy to be in his clothes. What many people need to realize is your weight doesn’t always equal your health. People of all sizes should love their bodies and just strive to be HEALTHY not THIN.
    Just my two cents…

  41. Dee says:


    “Cater to brands/things that caters to YOU!”
    I couldn’t have said that any better.

  42. abs says:

    Love thier Tshirts on sale days …thats about it tho

  43. tid bits says:

    Every designer or label have the right to create cloths with a POV or aesthectic/vision that is personal to them. If their vision dictates that they would only like to see thin or smaller sized women in their cloths, they retain that right. You might not like it, but it is their right.

    There is nothing worse for a designer to make a garment with a specific look or vision in mind and someone wears that garment and distorts that vision.

    If I was a larger sized woman, I would be annoyed that someone else’s vision limits my choices, but I would be appreciative that I live in a world today where there are designers and labels that keep me in mind.

    From a business perspective it is very smart to have a specific type of customer to target & solicit trade with. For abercrombie, it’s failing because it’s cloths are outdated..not because it excludes larger sized women.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Fat people can lose weight but can ugly people like Mike and Donatella become beautiful? Nope. Look at Donatella’s lips…..just like an old wrinkled beat up vajayjay. These two can kick rocks.

  45. Miss Monèt says:

    I just have a few questions: Who still shops at Abercrombie&Fitch? Why all the uproar about a comment made in 2006? If he doesn’t want to cater to all sizes that’s his loss. As far as, designers go.. it maybe a long time before high fashion caters to plus size. Shouldn’t the real question or issue be why is the obesity rate going up?

  46. Marsha D says:

    @ Jihan….ditto, ditto and dittoooooo. I couldn’t have said it better myself. But seriously….when will people learn. Fashion is to be appreciated but it’s also a business and the business is not always “you”, and by “you” I mean whoever YOU are no matter what race, size, height, etc.

  47. jeda says:

    Ve and everyone else who agrees with her needs to sit down and have all the seats at the Barclays Center.

    You’re making it seem that fat people are greedy and lazy. That is not the case. Obesity at times is a psychological issue. And this kind of discrimination does not help the situation. And might I add that not everyone is meant to be a skinny minnie. There are plenty of thick women who are perfectly healthy.

    Lastly, as a chunky woman who is trying to get her weight down, why can’t I look cute doing it? Best believe my fashion will be on 20 every minute of every day on my weight loss journey no matter what size im at. But then again, I don’t need Abercrombie clothes for that.


  48. eVIL says:

    I don’t think what this guy or his “brand” thinks should matter any more than the opinions of people who feel that it’s their right to tell others what to eat, workout, etc. Clothing is material; just a simple, inanimate set of objects. They are made to fit people and therefore, people should not have to make themselves fit the clothes. What he and every other designer who feels this way will come to realize is that times change and as they do, they might have to eat their words so it might be a good idea to make them with a little bit less barbed wire and coffin nails. People don’t have the memory capacity of fruit flies.

  49. May says:

    And I agree. There’s a gym on every corner. These big ppl need to put it to use. I’m sure he’s not talking about chubby ppl. He means outright fat ppl. Lane Brynt caters to the lazy. Go there.

  50. Tamika says:

    I am not fat, neither am I thin, but all fat or overweight person may not be able to help themselves. I have a thyroid issues since I was 11, and my weight fluctuates. Sue me, but I think he is just being mean. If it was easy, for me, as eating a salad and joining a gym, I would be a size 6/8 instead of a 13/14. Good day.

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